10th Installment of Obeah

One night Henry was awaken by the sound of a conch shell being blown, so he got up and went to the doorway. The kids were running towards the jungle, Adofo ran by,

“Come on let’s go!” Adofo shouted and Henry joined the rush of stampeding bodies. He got to the edge of the village, just before the dark jungle enveloped the path. He looked up at the dark sky, once again balls of fire floated above the village then slowly drifted to the ground. As they touched the earth, they immediately transformed into human forms, they ran through the village destroying as much as they could. At first Henry stood in shock as smoldering footprints littered the ground around the village. Huts busted into flames and animals were mutilated. It was as if the stories the old slave woman told him had come to life right before his eyes. Henry stood shocked at the carnage. One of the Ligaroos grabbed a little boy and threw him to the ground. The child fell on his back then shuffled on his rear trying to escape his attacker. Henry did not think he just ran towards the boy grabbing his arm and dragging him towards the jungle. The Ligaroo laughed, his red eyes glowed in the dark. The child got up and ran into the jungle, but as Henry was about to follow him, the Ligaroo sprang into action, and in a split second Henry was on his back looking up at the creature.

He shook with fear as the beast leaned down.

“Brave lad are we, saving a little slave boy. Does that make you righteous, does that make you better than me?’ The Ligaroo growled. Saliva and blood dripped out of its mouth. Its body shined a little in the silver moonlight, its eyes ignited orange with anger. Henry was surprised that the Ligaroo looked as human as he did. All the stories about blood sucking gave him the impression of a hideous monster; instead the beast looked like a deformed man. The beast sniffed the air,

“Ahhhh plantation overseer’s blood never had rich blood before. I must say, I am tired of the second rate blood of the slaves.” The Ligaroo lifted its head and growled. Henry cowered away as the beast looked down and grabbed him by the throat lifting him off the ground. Henry punched and clawed, but the Ligaroo was slippery, and Henry’s hands slipped off the beast when he tried to grab its arm. Just when he felt the last burst of air escape his mouth, he heard the beast howl in pain. Henry fell to the ground gasping for air; Adofo stood behind the Ligaroo a spear in his hand, blood dripped from its tip. For a second, the Ligaroo stared at Adofo as if in disbelief. The Ligaroo staggered and almost fell, but righted himself and turned to Adofo, again he plunged the spear into the beast, it grunted, the sound echoed through the village and into the jungle. The Ligaroo turned and ran, leaped into the air, transformed into a ball of fire and disappeared into the night sky.

Henry got up and ran. Adofo was behind him and they entered the jungle where it was thick with vines and squeezed into a grove of trees. Henry heard breathing outside the vines as a Ligaroo walked by, his feet crunching on the dry leaves igniting small fires, he growled and it sounded like an angry wolf stalking its prey. Henry peeped through the vines and saw the Ligaroo lift its head as if sniffing the air, it looked around some more, then walked back in the direction of the village.

They waited until they saw the balls of fire light up the night sky and disappear into the darkness. The rains came, drenching the village, extinguishing the fires. They huddled under the thick bushes; their clothes clung to their bodies.

It was early morning before they returned to the village. Adofo and Akosua took the older villagers first, Henry went with them. Some of the huts were burnt to the ground. Henry stepped on the mutilated carcass of a goat and almost threw up as he shook blood and flesh from his feet. Kwao walked up and stood in the middle of the village,

“Am sick of this, we need to fight back,” he screamed kicking a calabash bowl, “Damn Ligaroos, they must die for this, I would worship Marinette-Bwa-Check if it meant ridding us of these beasts,”

“Calm down Kwao, we will deal with them when Yemaya says the time is right,” Akosua said resting her hand on Kwao’s shoulder, “I saw her as clear as I see you now, she spoke like an old woman, but had the beauty of fresh youth. Her eyes were like crystal balls, like a gateway to our future. She will always protect us; she promised me that much and so far, all of her prophecies have come to past. She predicted that our parents would be taken. She said that the great Ligaroo King will try to destroy us, but all we have to do is have faith and she will provide for us.” Akosua said, Kwao pounded the ground with the blunt end of his spear,

“Am tired of sitting here waiting, I say we get in our boats go to that island, get our parents back and destroy the Ligaroos,” he shouted. Some of the warriors yelled their agreement with Kwao. Akosua raised her arm,

“The time is not right,” she said, there was grumbling from the crowd. Akosua lowered her arm,

“Yemaya said that I will feel when the time is right. We need to listen to her. She has always protected our people even in our homeland. She has helped us win many of battles, so be patient and faithful, our day of triumph will come,” she said. Kwao stepped in front of her,

“Do you want to hang on to the words of a weak goddess, one that we have never seen but exist in Amelia’s dreams or do you want to live without fear? Stand up and fight for freedom from the Ligaroos,” he shouted, some of the boys pounded their spears on the ground,

“Kwao is right!” One young warrior shouted. “We are warriors what good are we if we sit here and let the Ligaroos do as they please?’ The support boosted Kwao’s confidence,

“Pick up spears and go destroy the Ligaroos once and for all,” he screamed. There were some tentative cheers as Kwao stood with his spear raised above his head. The villagers stood looking from Akosua to Kwao. Akosua looked at him a strange calm expression on her face. Kwao continued,

“So are you going to listen to this girl and her Loa Yemaya, or are you going to follow me to that island?” He shouted, Adofo came forward and pushed Kwao; the indignant Akan stumbled but was caught by one of the boys,

“Shut your mouth!” Adofoh screamed. Kwao tried to charge at him, but he was held back by two young warriors,

“Then go,” Akosua said, Kwao looked at her,

“Go,” she repeated, Kwao glared at Adofo then turned and walked away, two of the boys followed him. There was silence as Akosua stood, a cool wind swept through the village, and slowly, animals emerged from the jungle, monkeys, mongooses, lizards, wild dogs, pigs. It was as if the whole jungle population walked into the village. The villagers watched in awe as the animals stood behind Akosua. Kwao stopped, turned, and looked at her; his spear fell from his hand, Akosua opened her eyes,

“Every day my powers are getting stronger Yemaya said that soon I will be ready, I promise you, we will destroy the Ligaroos,” she said a strange calm in her voice. A large python slithered up her leg and wrapped itself around her, its head above hers, its forked tongue flapping in the air, its fangs exposed menacingly. She turned and faced the jungle, the animals made a path and she walked through, the path of animals closed behind her and followed her as she disappeared into the jungle. Kwao stood confused, the boys that had followed him walked back to the crowd and left him standing alone, and he bent down and picked up his spear, then turned and walked into the jungle.,

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